Reproductive Rights Prof Blog

Editor: Caitlin E. Borgmann
CUNY School of Law

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Khiara M. Bridges on Pregnancy as Injury

Khiara M. Bridges (Boston University School of Law) has posted When Pregnancy Is an Injury: Rape, Law, and Culture on SSRN. Here is the abstract:     

Khiara_bridges

This Article examines criminal statutes that grade more severely sexual assaults that result in pregnancy. These laws, which define pregnancy as a “substantial bodily injury,” run directly counter to positive constructions of pregnancy within culture. The fact that the criminal law, in this instance, reflects this negative, subversive understanding of pregnancy creates the possibility that this idea may be received within culture as a construction of pregnancy that is as legitimate as positive understandings. In this way, these laws create possibilities for the reimagining of pregnancy within law and society. Moreover, these laws recall the argumentation that proponents of abortion rights once made – argumentation that one no longer hears and sees in the debates surrounding abortion. However, recent developments in antiabortion argumentation – namely the notion accepted in Carhart II that it is abortion that injures women – counsel the retrieval of the argument that unwanted pregnancies are injuries to women. Thus, the sexual assault laws are means to legitimatize a claim that may serve as an effective counterdiscourse to prevailing antiabortion argumentation. 

April 17, 2013 in Abortion, Gonzales v. Carhart, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 7, 2013

International Women's Day: Women's Global Health Still at Risk

GlobeThe Huffington Post: International Women's Day 2013: 7 Sadly Disturbing Truths About Women's Bodies (HOW YOU CAN HELP), by Eleanor Goldberg:

On International Women’s Day, we have a number of groundbreaking accomplishments to celebrate. This year alone, women in the U.S. won the right to serve on the front lines in combat and President Obama inched closer to pushing for equal pay for men and women.

Global health for women has also seen some major boons, too. The number of mothers who die during childbirth has been reduced by almost 50 percent and HIV drug prices have fallen by more than 99 percent since 2000.

But we’re not done fighting yet. . . .

March 7, 2013 in International, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC Stirs Controversy with Posters on Teen Pregnancy

The New York Times: Posters on Teenage Pregnancy Draw Fire, by Kate Taylor:

The curly-haired baby looks out from the poster with sad eyes and tears dripping down his tawny cheeks.

“I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen,” the text next to his head reads.

In another poster, a dark-skinned little girl casts her eyes to the sky and says, “Honestly Mom ... chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”

These images, part of a public education campaign targeting teenage pregnancy that the city unveiled this week, are drawing mounting criticism from reproductive health advocates, women who had children as teenagers, and others . . . .

__________________________________________________________

The two ads described here, in addition to stigmatizing pregnant teens and reinforcing stereotypes, are disturbing in the way they target teen mothers through the fictional accusations of their own babies.  Did the mayor's office forget that it takes two to create a pregnancy?  Blaming "bad mothers" is a time-worn, punitive, and utterly unproductive way to try to address the social realities of poverty and sex and race discrimination.  Read PPNYC's response to the ads here.

-CEB

March 7, 2013 in Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Guardian Offers Timeline of "2012 War on Women"

The Guardian: The War on Women, by Heather Long:

2012 was a tough year for American females as various aspects of female health and reproduction repeatedly took center stage. Politicians and pundits, mainly Republican, made degrading and factually incorrect remarks about rape and contraception. But Democrats also left their mark with an ill-timed snipe at stay-at-home mom Ann Romney, reinvigorating the "mommy wars".

Here are the key moments in the 2012 War on Women . . . .

March 5, 2013 in 2012 Presidential Campaign, Abortion, Abortion Bans, Anti-Choice Movement, Congress, Contraception, Fetal Rights, In the Media, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Parenthood, Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexual Assault, Sexuality, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

No End in Sight to GOP Ignorance and Insensitivity on Pregnancy Resulting from Rape

Huffington Post:  Celeste Greig, California Republican, Claims Pregnancy From Rape Is Rare:

Celeste greigThe president of California's oldest and largest GOP volunteer group took a wrong turn while trying to criticize GOP candidates' missteps on women's reproductive rights when she argued that pregnancies resulting from rape are rare "because the body is traumatized."

Celeste Greig leads the California Republican Assembly, which former President Ronald Reagan once called "the conscience of the Republican Party." It works to elect conservative Republicans to public office. . . . 

There is already a petition asking for Greig's resignation here.  

March 5, 2013 in Politics, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pregnant Texas Teen Sues Parents to Avoid Abortion

TIME: In Texas, a Pregnant Teen Sues Her Parents to Avoid an Abortion, by Bonnie Rochman:

Image1 Earlier this month, Jaime Burnside called an attorney in Texas to help her teen-age son. His girlfriend was pregnant and wanted to have the baby, but her parents wanted her to have an abortion.

It’s the kind of case that invigorates the Texas Center for Defense of Life, which has handled three similar situations in the two years since it was founded. “Parents think they’re making a decision for their daughters like pulling a tooth or getting their tonsils out,” says Stephen Casey, who spoke to the boy’s mother and agreed to file suit against the girl’s parents. “But now that the girl is pregnant, the parents become grandparents and they can’t make a decision for the girl about her unborn child.”. . .

February 27, 2013 in Abortion, In the Courts, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Teen Birth Rate Nearly One-Third Higher in Rural Areas of U.S.

The Hill - Healthwatch:  Study: Teen birth rate highest in rural areas, by Elise Viebeck:

The teen birth rate in rural areas of the United States is nearly one-third greater than in other parts of the country, according to a new study. 

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found declining teen birth rates across the country have been slower to take effect in rural counties. . . . 

February 27, 2013 in Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

U.S. 2008 Teen Pregnancy Data – State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity

Guttmacher Institute – News Release: 2008 State-Level Teen Pregnancy Data Now Available, by Rebecca Wind: Image1

Teen pregnancy rates declined steadily in all 50 states between 1988 and 2005. However, between 2005 and 2008, the teen pregnancy rate decreased by 5% or more in 7 states, while increasing by 5% or more in 16 states, according to "U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2008: State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity." While these short-term increases are troubling, recent evidence from the CDC, including further reductions in teen birth rates in nearly all states between 2008 and 2010 and preliminary numbers indicating a decrease in teen abortions in 2009, indicate that teen pregnancy rates will continue their long-term declines. . . .

February 27, 2013 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Record Low for U.S. Teen Births

The Hill - Healthwatch Blog:  Teen births hit new low, by Elise Viebeck:

The number of teen births has continued to decline in the United States, hitting a record low between 2010 and 2011. 

The new figures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show an 8 percent drop in teen births during that period. Just over three percent of 15- to 19-year-olds gave birth in that span. The teen birthrate peaked in 1991, researchers said. . . . 

Added by LP on 2/14/13

February 16, 2013 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Malawi's New President Committed to Reducing Maternal Mortality

The New York Times - Opinionator:  Malawi's Leader Makes Safe Childbirth Her Mission, by Courtney E. Martin:

Malawi is a country of rolling hills and marshy flatlands, where 85 percent of the population live in the countryside, most subsisting on less than $2 per person per day, typically from corn and tobacco farming. It is also a country with extremely high maternal mortality. In the U.S., 1 in 2,400 women are at risk of dying while giving birth over the course of their lives; in Malawi, it is 1 out of 36. If the country’s new president, Joyce Banda, has her way, that will soon change. . . .

February 10, 2013 in Culture, International, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Reproductive Health & Safety | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Family Medical Leave Act Turns 20

Feminist Majority Foundation: Family Medical Leave Act Turns 20:

Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which grants job-protected sick leave to those who are recovering or taking care of someone recovering from an illness or those who have had a new child. . . .

February 6, 2013 in Congress, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

NYC's Teen Pregnancy Rate Has Declined Dramatically Over Past Decade

WNYC - The Brian Lehrer Show: Teen Pregnancy Down

NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Farley talks about why the city’s teen pregnancy rate has been on the decline over the past decade, and why the Bronx still has the highest rate in the country. . . .

______________________

Like the CDC data on sex among Latino/a youth, New York City's experience seems to contradict claims that providing teens with contraception will lead to increased sex, since the decline in pregnancy is attributable both to decreased rates of teen sex and increased use of contraception by sexually active teens.

-CEB

February 6, 2013 in Contraception, In the Media, Pregnancy & Childbirth, State and Local News, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Call for Submissions: Sarah Weddington Prize for Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights

Law Students for Reproductive Justice and the Center for Reproductive Rights:

Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) invite submissions for the eighth annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights

The 1st place winning submission will have a presumption of publishability and will receive expedited review by New York University School of Law’s Review of Law and Social Change. Winning authors will also receive cash prizes: $750 (1st place), $500 (2nd place), or $250 (3rd place).

This year’s theme: “Economic (In)Justice of Reproductive Regulation”

LSRJ & CRR seek student scholarship exploring the economic justice implications of laws and regulations that affect reproductive health and rights in the U.S. Papers may explore a range of issues, such as: tensions between affirmative state obligations and individual rights; consequences of health insurance regulation and the needs of individuals seeking preventative and/or “elective” reproductive care (e.g. should reproductive technologies and contraception be covered, and if so, how?); the impact of state support for specific practices (e.g. breastfeeding, vaccinations, birthing options) on the ability of women and families to make decisions about their care; and the role of the state in health care regulation and funding (e.g. how will Medicaid expansion affect reproductive health access? Who is most benefitted and/or who is left out of the Affordable Care Act?). These ideas are examples of topics that would fit the theme; however, many more issues could be fruitfully explored through the lens of economic justice. 

Papers should have a domestic focus, but may draw on international and comparative materials. Authors are asked to apply a reproductive justice lens and/or human rights framework to their analyses of the issues.  We encourage writing that amplifies lesser heard voices, applies an intersectional approach to legal thinking, suggests innovative solutions, and/or takes into account the practical realities and the lived experiences of the people affected.  

Papers must be at least 20 pages in length (not including footnotes), double-spaced in 12-point font with footnotes in 10-point font, conforming to Bluebook citation format. Only original scholarship by current law students or 2012 graduates will be accepted. Papers being considered for publication elsewhere are ineligible for the first place prize but will be considered for second and third place. Papers already contracted for publication as of March 2013 will not be accepted. Winners will be selected by an outside panel of legal and academic judges.

Send your submission (in Word format as an email attachment) to submissions@lsrj.org by 5:00pm PST on Monday, March 4, 2013. Questions? Email Mariko Miki at mariko@lsrj.org

February 1, 2013 in Abortion, Assisted Reproduction, Contraception, Parenthood, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lynn Paltrow and Jeanne Flavin on the Policing of Pregnancy

Lynn M. Paltrow (National Advocates for Pregnant Women) & Jeanne Flavin (Fordham University) have published Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005:  Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law.  Here is the abstract:

In November 2011, the citizens of Mississippi voted down Proposition 26, a “personhood” measure that sought to establish separate constitutional rights for fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses. This proposition raised the question of whether such measures could be used as the basis for depriving pregnant women of their liberty through arrests or forced medical interventions. Over the past four decades, descriptions of selected subsets of arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women have been published. Such cases, however, have never been systematically identified and documented, nor has the basis for their deprivations of liberty been comprehensively examined. In this article we report on 413 cases from 1973 to 2005 in which a woman’s pregnancy was a necessary factor leading to attempted and actual deprivations of a woman’s physical liberty. First, we describe key characteristics of the women and the cases, including socioeconomic status and race. Second, we investigate the legal claims made to justify the arrests, detentions, and forced interventions.

Third, we explore the role played by health care providers. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings and the likely impact of personhood measures on pregnant women’s liberty and on maternal, fetal, and child health.

January 22, 2013 in Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lorana Bartels on Infant Abandonment, Neonaticide and Infanticide

Lorana Bartels (University of Canberra – School of Law and Justice) has posted Safe Haven Laws, Baby Hatches and Anonymous Hospital Birth: Examining Infant Abandonment, Neonaticide and Infanticide in Australia on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

This article considers international responses to infant abandonment, neonaticide and infanticide in the context of the recent conviction of Keli Lane for the murder of her newborn daughter and the Children’s Protection (Lawful Surrender of Newborn Child) Amendment Bill 2011 (SA). The article considers three responses currently in operation internationally: safe haven laws, baby hatches, and anonymous birth. Arguments about these models, including effectiveness, whether they target the “wrong” women, and the rights of children to know their genetic origins, are examined.

January 16, 2013 in International, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Guttmacher Institute Releases 2012 State Policy Review on Reproductive Health and Rights

Guttmacher Institute:  Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights:  2012 State Policy Review:

                      State-restrictions-650px_000

Reproductive health and rights was once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. Although this is a sharp decrease from the record-breaking 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, it is the second highest annual number of new abortion restrictions. . . .

January 6, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Fetal Rights, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Pregnancy Centers, “Darlings of the Pro-Life Movement,” on the Rise

The New York Times: Pregnancy Centers Gain Influence in Anti-Abortion Arena, by Pam Belluck:

WACO, Tex. — With free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, along with diapers, parenting classes and even temporary housing, pregnancy centers are playing an increasingly influential role in the anti-abortion movement. While most attention has focused on scores of new state laws restricting abortion, the centers have been growing in numbers and gaining state financing and support. . . .

January 6, 2013 in Abortion, Anti-Choice Movement, Pregnancy & Childbirth | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Kristine Knaplund on Determining Parentage for ART Children Born Abroad

Kristine S. Knaplund (Pepperdine University School of Law) has posted What's Blood Got To Do With It? Determining Parentage for ART Children Born Overseas on SSRN. Here is the absract: Image1

The United States has long followed the English common law view that citizenship can be attained at birth in two ways: by being born in the U.S. (jus soli), or by being born abroad as the child of a U.S. citizen (jus sanguinis). The first, jus soli, is now part of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state wherein they reside.” Jus soli theoretically does not inquire into the citizenship of the child’s parents; the relevant fact is that the birth takes place in the United States. Jus sanguinis, in contrast, arises from the parent-child relationship. The State Department translates jus sanguinis as “from the bloodline,” citing it as the “traditional Roman law principle.” By “natural parent,” the State Department means a blood relationship with a U.S. citizen: “It is not enough that the child is presumed to be the issue of the parents’ marriage by the laws of the jurisdiction where the child was born.”

A purely genetic connection to the child is sufficient to establish parentage in relatively few instances in American law. One is child support: even if the genetic father has had no contact with the child, and has done nothing to establish a relationship (or even been prevented from knowing about the child), the genetic connection may be enough if no other presumed father is on the scene. This article explores a second instance in which the genetic connection is paramount: when an American citizen gives birth abroad. A genetic test works well for children conceived coitally, but may wreak havoc for those conceived using assisted reproduction techniques (ART). Citizenship has recently been denied to the children of two American women who used anonymously donated gametes to conceive and give birth to a child: one in Israel, and one in Switzerland; in a third case, the U.S. Embassy refused to recognize the birth mother as the child’s mother because she had used donated eggs and given birth to the child in India.

Part I of this Article discusses the origins of jus sanguinis in Roman and English common law, including ancient and medieval views of conception and maternity in determining the child's bloodline. Not surprisingly, these views differ significantly from those held today. Taking into account this scientific background, Part II examines citizenship laws in early U.S. history, and assumptions of who were the parents of a child, both in wedlock and out of wedlock. While the definition of paternity has always taken note of biology as well as a man’s relationship to the birth mother, science began to play a more prominent role in the legal definition of parenthood once blood grouping and blood tests were available in the early 1900s. Part III then introduces the law of U.S. citizenship today, which in its main outlines is the same as first codified in 1952. The ability of DNA testing to positively identify the father in most cases, plus advances in ART that separate the two functions of the birth mother – genetics and gestation – have greatly complicated the definition of parentage for children, but the State Department has, in large part, continued to use the same parentage standard first detailed in 1952. Part IV examines and critiques three methods of identifying parentage: the State Department’s preferred method (genetics), the common law parturient test, and the recently developed intent test, to examine which method of determining parentage should be used for children born abroad. Part V concludes the article.

December 10, 2012 in Assisted Reproduction, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sarthak Garg and Keshav Gaur on Reproductive Rights of Surrogate Mothers in India

Sarthak Garg & Keshav Gaur (both of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law) have posted Reproduction Rights of Women: Ethical or Viable Role of Surrogate Mother on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Reproductive behavior is governed by complex biological, cultural and psychological relations, hence reproductive health and rights must be understood within the context of relationships between men and women, communities and societies. This research encompasses with these problems which concerned about the reproductive health and rights of the women. It furthermore explains the vulnerability of women and gender biased violence against them. This paper also laid stress on the impact of men’s action over the reproductive health and rights of the women and the key initiatives to deliver reproductive rights and services to the women. Though, this paper also focuses on the rights of the surrogates’ mother and the initiatives taken by the government for the enhancement of the surrogacy and their rights in India. In this research we conceptualize the incidents related to the surrogacy and the legal issues in the global scenario. However, we also gestate the landscape of surrogacy in India, as it is new concept for India and not acceptable as well on various portfolios so we also laid focus on the social and economic background for the profound this concept in the grass root level. While construing this research we also analysis the Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) bill, in that we critically analysis it’s positive and negative aspects for the concept of surrogacy in India. Eventually, this research also laid impact over the commissioning parents and their rights regarding surrogacy. In the conclusion our research concludes procreating a child in surrogate woman’ womb is grateful gift to those mothers who cannot conceive child.

December 10, 2012 in Assisted Reproduction, Bioethics, International, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexual Assault | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pamela Cox on Marginalized Mothers and Reproductive Autonomy

Pamela Cox (University of Essex) has posted Marginalized Mothers, Reproductive Autonomy, and 'Repeat Losses to Care' on SSRN. Here is the abstract: Image1

Over 70,000 children are ‘looked after’ by local authorities in England and Wales. Emerging research suggests that a significant proportion of their birth parents have either already lost a child to permanent adoption or will go on to lose others. These ‘repeat loss’ cases raise difficult questions about marginalized mothers and their reproductive autonomy. This article considers past and present tactics used by the state in its attempts to limit that autonomy, including institutionalization, sterilization, long‐acting contraception, and permanent adoption. It argues that the gradual democratization of intimate citizenship over the past century, defined as a person's ability to choose and direct their intimate relationships, has obliged the contemporary state to develop new tactics which aim to build personal capacity and to balance enhanced child protection with enhanced reproductive autonomy.

December 5, 2012 in Contraception, International, Parenthood, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sterilization | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)